Suicide blast in Afghan capital during Hagel visit

March 9, 2013 07:12

KABUL - A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a gate of the Afghan Defence Ministry in Kabul on Saturday and the attack was followed by small-arms fire, said a spokesman for Afghanistan's NATO-led force.

There was no immediate word on casualties in the blast which took place during a visit by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) spokesman said Hagel was nowhere near the explosion. A US defense official said Hagel was in a safe location at an ISAF facility.

The attack underscored the security challenges facing Afghanistan as US-led NATO forces prepare to leave the country by the end of 2014.

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